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CCPA/CPRA Data Mapping: The Essential Guide for 2024

ccpa/cpra data mapping clym visual cloud storage of data from various sources

For businesses, data is a critical asset, but one which carries significant legal obligations with it. Understanding how to handle and protect the data of customers is crucial, especially with strict privacy laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA). 

In this article, we are looking at what data mapping is, how to manage the personal data of your customers responsibly, and how to facilitate compliance with the CCPA.


What is Data Mapping?

Data mapping can be thought of as creating a detailed road map that outlines where customer information originates, how it moves through and changes within your business, and where it ultimately ends up. 

The process involves meticulously tracking every stage of data handling—from the moment information is collected on your website or through other channels, through its storage, usage, and eventual deletion when it is no longer necessary.

A simpler way to understand data mapping is if you imagine you're planning a big party and you need to keep track of all the supplies coming from different places: balloons from one store, snacks from another, and decorations from yet another. 

Data mapping is a similar process of keeping track of things, but instead of party supplies, it’s about keeping track of the personal information you collect, store, and process from your customers and/or website visitors.

In a business, information comes from many sources—like customer details from website forms, sales data from stores, user registrations on your ecommerce website, registrations for the purpose of using your services, or feedback from apps. Data mapping is like making a detailed plan or a map that shows where each piece of information comes from, where it goes, who can use it, and when it’s time to safely get rid of it.

It’s like having a guide that helps you know exactly where everything is and what happens to it at all times. This is especially important for businesses to manage their information correctly and keep it safe, ensuring they follow laws that protect people's privacy.


Why is data mapping important? 

The purpose of data mapping is to gain a clear and comprehensive understanding of the data lifecycle within an organization. It helps you visualize not just the flow of data, but also who accesses the data, the methods used to protect it, and how it integrates with different business processes. 

By maintaining an accurate and up-to-date data map, businesses can ensure they are not only protecting sensitive customer information but are also complying with legal standards set by privacy laws such as the CCPA/CPRA, the VCDPA, and so on. This visualization is particularly important for identifying any potential risks or vulnerabilities in data handling processes, enabling proactive measures to safeguard data and ensuring that every use of data is justified and transparent.

This mapping is crucial because it helps your business check that it handles customer information properly, from keeping it safe to using it legally. It’s a way to show you’re serious about protecting privacy and following the law.


What is the CCPA?

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is one of the strictest privacy laws in existence, requiring businesses who operate in or work with customers in California to become compliant with a series of data privacy requirements. With the coming into effect of the California Privacy Rights Act, or CPRA, these requirements have undergone further development in the form of extra consumer privacy rights. We have discussed the changes to California’s data privacy landscape that the CPRA brought in a related blog post.  


What does the CCPA/CPRA say about data mapping? 

The CCPA started the push for privacy rights in California, and the CPRA expanded these rights even more. The two texts require businesses to be open about how they collect, use, and share customer data if consumers submit Data Subject Requests. As a covered business, you also need to let customers see their data, delete it, or stop its sale. Data mapping helps your business keep track of these activities and ensure that you comply with the CCPA.

Although there are no specific CCPA requirements for data mapping since the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) doesn't specifically say that businesses must do data mapping, California’s law does suggest that this is very important for following the rules. 

Here's how data mapping helps you comply with the CCPA:

  • Data Mapping Helps You Know What Data You Hold: The CCPA allows California consumers to ask what personal information a business has about them, why it's collected, and who it's shared with. To answer these questions accurately, your business needs to know exactly where this information is kept, how it's used, and who can see it. Data mapping helps you track this information.
  • Data Mapping Helps You With Deleting Information: If someone asks your business to delete their personal information, your business needs to know where all of that person's data is stored. Data mapping makes it easier for you to find and delete this information.
  • Data Mapping Helps You Stop Selling Data: The CCPA allows California residents to tell your business to stop selling their personal information. Your business must be able to identify which data could be sold and make sure it's not sold if someone opts out. Data mapping helps track where this data is and how it’s handled.
  • Data Mapping Helps Your Organize Data: Businesses should keep a list of all the different types of information they collect and why they collect it. This helps make sure they only collect what they need and use it properly. Data mapping helps your business organize this information effectively.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Data Mapping

  • Planning and Preparation: Put together a team in charge of data mapping which should include representatives from IT, legal, compliance, and business operations to ensure a holistic approach to data mapping. This team should plan how to collect all necessary information about where data comes from and how it’s used, ensuring everything is done legally. In the The preparation phase you should also consider performing a detailed assessment of your business’ existing data practices and infrastructures.
  • Identify Data Sources: Review all the ways your business collects data, such as online registration forms, online order information on your website, or customer emails. Knowing all the places you get data from is the first step in mapping its journey through your company.
  • Map Your Data Flow: Start tracking where the data goes after you collect it. Which departments within your organization have access to this data?! Where is it stored? This step is about understanding every point the data touches inside your business and the goal is to have a visual representation of the data flows, which can be used to identify any processes that do not comply with the CCPA/CPRA.
  • Documenting Your Business’ Data Processing: Keep detailed records of what happens to the data at each step, like who checks it and why it’s needed in order to ensure they comply with disclosed purposes and consumer rights under CCPA/CPRA. This helps prove you’re using and protecting data the way you stated in your Privacy Policy and is crucial not only for compliance but also for responding to consumer inquiries and audits.
  • Cross Border Data Mapping: If your business sends data cross border to other states or countries, you need to know the data privacy regulation requirements for those areas. Make sure your data mapping includes how to handle these situations legally.
  • Data Mapping Updates and Maintenance: Business changes, like new products or new data systems, can affect how you handle data. Updating your data maps regularly to reflect these changes help you  stay compliant with all data privacy regulations. Periodically check your data handling practices against your data map to spot any mismatches or mistakes. This helps keep your business on track and compliant with the law. Last but not least, keep an eye on new technology and law changes that might affect data privacy and how you should handle data. Staying informed and learning new regulation requirements can help you stay on the safe side. 



Understanding and implementing data mapping is not just about following the law—it’s about respecting and protecting customer information and about making your life easier by helping you oversee personal data collection and usage. As your business moves through the year 2024 this guide can help your business structure its data management, facilitating compliance with legal standards and the building of trust with your customers. 

Remember: while the CCPA doesn't directly tell businesses to map their data, engaging in data mapping can prove to be crucial for compliance with California’s privacy law, as it helps you manage information better and respond correctly to what people ask about their data.

How Can Clym Help You?

Clym helps businesses easily meet the requirements of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) by offering a tool that streamlines the management of consumers’ data privacy. Our platform makes it simple for businesses to notify consumers about what personal information is being collected and why, at the time of collection. 

Furthermore, Clym aids in verifying the identity of people making requests about their personal information, helping businesses prevent fraud while respecting consumer rights. We provide businesses with a way to keep track of consumer requests and responses to these. This means your business can comply with the law without hassle, avoid fines, and you can build trust with your customers by showing them that you take data protection seriously.

You can convince yourself and see Clym in action by booking a demo or reaching out to us to discuss your specific needs today.


CCPA Resources


What is data mapping?

Data mapping is the process of creating a detailed map that outlines where customer information comes from, how it moves and changes within a business, and where it ultimately ends up. This involves tracking every stage of data handling, from collection through storage and use, to deletion when no longer necessary. It helps businesses manage and safeguard information, ensuring compliance with privacy laws.

Why is data mapping important for businesses?

Data mapping provides a clear understanding of the data lifecycle within an organization. It helps businesses visualize data flow, access points, protection measures, and integration with business processes. This is crucial for protecting sensitive customer information, complying with legal standards like the CCPA/CPRA, identifying potential risks, and ensuring transparent and justified data use.

What is the CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act)?

The CCPA is a strict privacy law that requires businesses operating in California to comply with data privacy requirements. It grants consumers rights to access their data, request deletion, and opt-out of data selling. The CCPA, enhanced by the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), mandates businesses to be transparent about data collection, usage, and sharing.

How does data mapping facilitate compliance with the CCPA?

While the CCPA does not explicitly mandate data mapping, it plays a critical role in compliance by helping businesses:

- Understand and locate all personal information they hold.

- Respond accurately to consumer data access requests.

- Manage and streamline data deletion processes.

- Track and control the sale of personal data to honor consumer opt-out requests.

- Organize data collection and usage according to disclosed purposes.

What are the steps of data mapping?

Here are six steps for data mapping: 

  1. Planning and Preparation: Assemble a cross-functional team from IT, legal, compliance, and operations to oversee the data mapping process.
  2. Identify Data Sources: Determine all sources from which your business collects data.
  3. Map Your Data Flow: Document how data moves through your organization, who accesses it, and where it is stored.
  4. Document Data Processing: Keep records of data processing at each stage to ensure compliance and readiness for audits.
  5. Cross Border Data Mapping: Include how data is handled across borders, ensuring legal compliance with international data privacy regulations.
  6. Data Mapping Updates and Maintenance: Regularly update the data map to reflect changes in business operations and stay compliant with evolving laws.

What is Clym and how can it help with CCPA compliance?

Clym provides a platform that helps businesses meet CCPA requirements by streamlining data privacy management. It offers tools for notifying consumers about personal data collection, verifying identities for data requests, and tracking consumer interactions. This supports businesses in complying with the law, avoiding penalties, and building trust through transparent data practices.